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News | Oct. 11, 2016

JTF-PO delivers humanitarian aid to Matthew's victims

By Tech. Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing and interagency partners arrived at Port-au-Prince International Airport, Haiti, Oct. 6, in support of a larger Department of Defense effort to support the government of Haiti’s request for assistance after Hurricane Matthew made landfall Oct. 4.

The Joint Task Force-Port Opening, consisting of more than 110 CRW Airmen stationed here and Soldiers from the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., are working alongside Defense Logistics Agency members to facilitate the movement of humanitarian aid.

“The JTF-PO is doing great,” said Col. Leslie Maher, JTF-PO Matthew commander. “Their spirits are really high because they’re getting to see that the relief is going to the right people, doing things that are stretching their capabilities and getting to put their training to good use.”

The JTF-PO specializes in rapidly establishing hubs for cargo distribution operations worldwide, to include remote or damaged locations, on short notice.

More than 450 short tons of USAID, hygiene kits, food, water, tarps and other cargo have been received and staged by the JTF-PO.

“Initially, the flight line was hectic,” said Tech. Sgt. Ronald Rowe, JTF-PO aerial porter. “It’s been challenging because of the language barrier. The level of experience they have is different than ours. At the end of the day, we're getting done what needs to get done.”

As of today, more than 350,000 people are in need of assistance. Haiti's Civil Protection Department has reported approximately 372 deaths, with 14,330 Haitians occupying emergency shelters, 6,000 persons are displaced, and 80% of the affected areas have been destroyed.

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center website.